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Blinken promotes joint efforts to denuclearize N. Korea at G-7 meeting

Diplomacy 01:08 May 04, 2021

By Byun Duk-kun

WASHINGTON, May 3 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for coordinated efforts to denuclearize North Korea on Monday while the top diplomats from the Group of 7 (G7) countries were later scheduled to discuss the North Korea issue.

In his bilateral meeting with South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong, the top U.S. diplomat highlighted the importance of regional cooperation in dealing with the North.

"Secretary Blinken and Minister Chung stressed their commitment to work together to protect and advance shared security goals, including U.S.-Japan-ROK trilateral cooperation toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," department spokesman Ned Price said of the Blinken-Chung meeting held earlier Monday.

The meeting took place on the sidelines of the G7 Foreign and Development Ministers' talks in London. Chung is currently taking part in the G7 meeting as a special guest, along with his counterparts from Australia, India, South Africa and Brunei.

Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong (R) and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken hold talks on the sidelines of a Group of Seven ministerial meeting in London in this combined photo on May 3, 2021. (Yonhap)

In his meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, Blinken again emphasized the need for regional cooperation to denuclearize North Korea.

"Secretary Blinken and Minister Motegi shared their concerns about North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs and reaffirmed their commitment to address and resolve these issues through U.S.-Japan-Republic of Korea trilateral cooperation towards denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," Price said in a separate statement.

The emphasis on North Korea follows the recent conclusion of the United States' extensive North Korea policy review, which the U.S. earlier said will provide a "new" approach to dealing with the North.

On Friday, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the new approach would neither seek a "grand-bargain" agreement nor rely on "strategic patience" to denuclearize North Korea, referring to North Korea policies of previous U.S. administrations.

North Korea on Sunday threatened to make the situation "very grave" for the United States, citing earlier remarks from Biden that the U.S. will work with its allies to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula through "diplomacy, as well as deterrence."

Blinken and other foreign ministers of the G7 countries were set to discuss "Iran and DPRK" issues over a working welcome dinner later in the day, according to the State Department. DPRK stands for North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The emphasis on North Korea by the G7 foreign ministers may also foreshadow the upcoming summit of G7 leaders that will also be attended by the leaders of Australia, India and South Korea.

The G7 consists of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States, but some of the member countries are said to be pushing for an expansion of the group to include the three nations invited to this year's summit to form a group of 10 democracies or D10.

The G7 leaders' summit is scheduled to be held in London on June 11-13.

It will follow Biden's bilateral summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Washington on May 21.


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